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EMS Director Michael Bonner uses a UV light to ensure the ambulance is clean.

Staff photo by Elena Cawley

 

The pandemic has affected each aspect of life and every area. The medical field has had to adapt and prepare for the new challenges.

Employees with the Coffee County Emergency Medical Services (EMS) have adjusted their operations, and first responders have taken measures to protect the community.

With the pandemic raging for several months, EMS has been transporting many patients who could potentially be positive for COVID-19.

EMS employees are taking extra precautions to keep the virus out of the ambulances, according to EMS Director Michael Bonner. EMS officials have also worked to ensure they have enough supplies to handle emergencies.

“When this first came out, we met and talked about it,” Bonner said. “We got our order in pretty early, so we have a very comfortable supply – I wouldn’t say great, because you never know how long it is going to last – but we are comfortable right now, and we don’t expect to run out of anything.”

EMS employees always wear masks when they respond to calls.

“The employees are required to wear N-95 masks on every call and every patient contact because there’s just no way of knowing,” Bonner said. “If they suspect the patient is positive or if the patient has the right symptoms, then our employees are also going to wear a gown and a full face shield. And, of course, they have gloves, as always.”

After the paramedics transport the patient, they disinfect the vehicle.

“Once the transport is over, we disinfect the ambulance,” Bonner said. “We use a UV light, which we hang in the ambulance for about 30 minutes, and that particular wavelength of light kills the virus very quickly. Then afterwards, we wipe everything down, disinfect it again.

“Currently, we are able to stay ahead of heaving disinfecting wipes and PPE supplies.”

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